Reviews
Pros

good battery life
water resistant
front facing speakers
elegant design
fast, clean software
good picture outdoors

Cons

not the best display
expensive
camera suffers in medium/low light

Rating
Our Rating
Battery
8.7
Display
7.3
Camera
7.8
Performance
8.9
Software
9.5
Design
9.1
Bottom Line

The Sony Xperia Z5 is a great smartphone, but once again is an incremental update from its predecessor - the fingerprint scanner being the biggest new feature. Although the Z5 is a durable device with fast and clean software, you’ll have to ask yourself if it’s worth it’s price tag.

8.6
Our Rating
You have rated this
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With Sony’s mobile future uncertain, the Japanese giant really needs to hit a home run if they want to win over today’s smartphone consumers. With that goal in mind, Sony recently unveiled three new members of the Sony Xperia family. For those that prefer smaller screens, Sony gave users the Xperia Z5 Compact, which we recently reviewed in full. Sony also surprised the world with the Sony Xperia Z5 Premium, a pricey addition that pushes the envelope with the world’s first 4K display. Holding the middle ground, we have the standard Xperia Z5.

I recently was able to get my hands on the Sony Xperia Z5, and spent a great deal of time getting familiar with it. How does this new flagship compare to its predecessors? Is this the Xperia we’ve all been waiting for? We find out in this comprehensive review of the Sony Xperia Z5.

Design

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The design of the Z5 will be very familiar to those who have followed the Xperia series over the years, keeping the company’s iconic Omni-Balance language, albeit with a few tweaks that help further refine the looks. I’ll be honest, this is not my favorite smartphone when it comes to design, but I do think it has a sense of luxury and elegance to it, more so than most other phones on the market right now.

Around the Z5 we have a smooth metal frame with frosted glass on the back. In the top left corner of the rear, you’ll find the 23 megapixel camera with it’s LED flash underneath. The design certainly looks rather beautiful and feels good too, but the glass does admittedly make the phone a little slippery. The phone isn’t too thick it is a little bigger than the Z3+ (aka Z4) at 7.33mm all around, though it is pretty light at 154 grams.

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The front of the phone sports the 5.2 inch HD screen, with some decently sized bezels on the top and bottom. Above it, is the front facing camera and a little notification light, that by default is white, but you have the freedom to change it. If you look a little more closely at the front of the Z5, you’ll notice the front facing stereo speakers on the top and bottom, almost hidden to keep the front of the phone looking very clean. The speakers certainly sound pretty good, though they are not very loud. Regardless, the Z5’s speakers are better than any speaker found on the bottom or back of other competitor devices.

On the right side of the phone, we are greeted with the same familiar signature layout, including the beloved camera shutter button, though the volume rocker is now located even further down than before. Unfortunately, this unconventional placement makes it a little awkward to press, whether you’re using the phone in your right or left hand. The power button can still be found in the middle of the right side, though it has been supersized a bit in order to accommodate the fingerprint scanner found within.

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This year, Sony designed this power button to be flush with its border so you have to kind of push into the phone to activate it. It does have a nice squishy click to it but it can be a little hard to initiate that click with it being so flush with its side. As for the quality of the scanner? It does a pretty good job, though the area is rather small for a scanner. The Z5’s scanner might not be as fast as some of its competitors, but it gets the job done. And overall, the reliability is decent.

Moving to the bottom of the phone, we’ll find the micro USB charging point and what looks like a lanyard hole. Not really much to see here.

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On the left side is where we can access our sim card, as well as our micro SD card. The problem is, it’s really hard to access them. First you have to use your nail to undo the flap and then continue using your nail to pull out the thin plastic housing. One reason these may be so hard to access is because they need to be kept well protected, as this phone is IP68 certified dust proof and water resistant. Sony does say however, that this does not apply to seawater.

Display

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In a world where many flagships are moving to QHD, or even 4K in the case of the Xperia Z5 Premium, the Xperia Z5 opts to stick to 1080p. The 5.2-inch IPS screen packs a resolution of 1080 by 1920, which results in a 428 ppi pixel density. It’s a pretty nice screen, and in terms of colors, it’s fantastic. Colors are very vibrant and whites are very white, maybe leaning a little towards the warm side, but they still look very nice. If you want a more saturated image, you can easily do so within settings. The screen gets pretty bright too, and though you may have trouble seeing it in direct sunlight at times, it offers better brightness than a number of its competitors. 

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Apart from colors though, the HD screen is not quite as beautiful as many other phone displays out there, even those that are still rocking 1080p. It almost appears that the Xperia Z5 is a slight step back from the Z3+, as it seems like there is a very slight haze over everything. Coming from the OnePlus Two that has an even lower pixel density than the Z5, the Z5 definitely is the weaker in terms of screens. When triggering fast animations, like the pull down notification menu, text and icons seem to have a subtle ghosting effect to them, more so than other HD phones.

All that being said, the display is definitely not bad and out performs a lot of displays when it comes to color representation. But in the other areas, it falls a bit behind.

Performance and hardware

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Just as we saw with the Sony Xperia Z3+, the Xperia Z5 offers a Snapdragon 810, backed by the Adreno 430 GPU and 3GB RAM. There’s also 32GB internal storage and microSD for further expansion. All the normal connectivity options are here including Wi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, GPS, Bluetooth 4.1, 4G LTE, and NFC. As mentioned earlier, the phone also offers up a fingerprint scanner, waterproofing, and fairly high-quality front facing speakers.
Whenever you hear “Snapdragon 810”, you get curious about overheating and whether it’s a legitimate problem. So does the 810 make the phone hot? Yes and no.

When I first got the phone and installed all of my apps, it got hot. But from what I could tell, just as hot as it did on my LG G4, Note 5, and OnePlus Two when doing the same thing. In normal use however, I never noticed the phone getting the slightest bit hot. When doing more CPU intensive stuff like gaming, the Z5 did get noticeably hot but no more so than just about any other phone I’ve used.

Technically the Z5 may overheat a bit more than other processors, but I wasn’t able to notice it just by feeling. Gary Sims tested this more in depth in his Z5 Compact review and found that for an app to stop working due to heat issues, you really have to be doing something crazy-intense like shooting 4k video for over 20 minutes.

Heat may not be a major issue for most users, but how well does the Z5 perform? Pretty good. The UI is smooth and lag-free for the most part, and the 810 provides a great experience when it comes to gaming and general performance.

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One very minor annoyance is the battery size, however. With this phone being 10 grams thicker than its predecessor, you would think Sony would be able to put a bigger battery inside. For some reason, Sony went the opposite direction, with the 2900 mAh battery actually being 30 mAh smaller than the Z3+.

Does this actually make a huge difference in the long run though? Thankfully, no. Like many other flagships coming out in 2015, you’ll be able to get an entire day’s life out of it as long as you don’t overdo it on screen time. This is even more true if you use the many battery saving modes Sony packed into the software like Stamina Mode and Ultra Stamina Mode.

Without using any battery saving modes I was able to get at least 4 1/2 to 5 hours of screen on time with the Xperia Z5 and that’s with spending a lot of time browsing the web, sending lots of text, and taking some pictures throughout the day.

Overall, the Xperia Z5 has a very reliable battery and the addition of Quick Charge 2.0 will allow you to top off the battery quickly for those days when you need a bit more oomph to make it through your day.

Camera

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After keeping the same camera for the last few generations, the Xperia Z5 finally saw the sensor bump up from 20.7 MP to 23 MP. Along with this improvement, you’ll find autofocus and LED Flash, though unfortunateyl there is no optical image stabilization onboard. For what it is worth, the software video stabilization in it does a pretty nice job, even if it’s not quite the same.

I was pretty excited to test out this camera because some of the best smartphone camera sensors are supplied by Sony, and all over Sony’s website they boast about the picture quality this thing can take. They even flaunt the megapixel count on the back of the phone. Unfortunately, the camera is not as great as you would think and on top of that, the whole megapixel count is very misleading.

Even though Sony is boasting that the Xperia Z5 is a 23 megapixel camera, that should really mean 8. Yes, the Z5 is capable of shooting in 23 megapixels but for whatever reason, the camera software is not optimized for it, so when comparing a 23 MP shot to an 8 MP shot, the 8 MP shot will often times look undoubtedly better. Better color, better dynamic range, and better-looking textures. Sony seems to know this as well as 8 megapixels is enabled by default. But there are times where 23 megapixels look better, so it just makes things a little confusing. If you don’t want to have to mess around with these settings, just stick to 8.

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To be fair, in normal lighting conditions pictures are actually very nice. There’s a lot of detail in these pictures and colors look very good, and they have a nice saturated look to them. There’s a little sharpening going on but most of the time it leads to a better picture. Dynamic range looks very good. Sometimes it can overexposed a little but nothing too unusual.

Medium light pictures is where the quality will begin to take a dip. They still look very nice, but you will start to see some purple creeping into the darker areas of the photos. And then when you get into low light, even more purple appears. Anything that is dark looking will have this purple hue to it, making it look pretty bad.

The same can be said for the front facing 5.1 megapixel camera. In good light, pictures look very good. Nice details and it exposes perfectly. In medium light, selfies are still great. Even in low light, selfies look pretty good. Details are lost and photos can be a bit grainy but the colors are better than the rear facing camera in low light it seems. To get that purple hue in selfies, you have to go to extreme low light.

Video looks very good on the Z5. Everything seems exposed correctly and even though there is no Optical Image stabilization, the software makes up for it and creates a pretty smooth image. I’ll admit I was pleasantly surprised. 4k is available too, although when shooting for long periods of time, the phone may overheat. There’s also tons of camera features and effects like AR effects, multicamera, face in picture, and more.

For a Sony camera so hyped up and really only good in bright lighting conditions, it definitely leaves a little more to be desired. That said, there are certainly worse cameras out there.

Software

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The great thing about Sony’s Xperia phones is their software. The Xperia Z5 is running Android Lollipop 5.1.1 and it actually looks fairly close to Stock Android. There are a number of additions Sony added to the software experience, but not so much as to make stock Android’s designs unrecognizable. For example, you can change the clock style on the lockscreen to some different options, and you can rearrange the icons or even hide some in the notification pull down.

The freedom to decide which icons are shown on the status bar is present with the Z5’s software as well. So you can hide the battery percentage or time, kind of like what you’re capable of doing with Android Marshmallow. Themes are also available that include live wallpapers that move depending on where you touch.

As far as extra apps go, Sony has included Movie Creator for making movies from your photos, TrackID which is Sony’s music recognition app, Lifelog for tracking calories and other fitness info, Wisepilot for turn-by-turn navigation, and three Playstation apps – PlayStation, PSN, and PS Video.

The important thing is that everything runs very smoothly. When you first turn on the phone after powering off, there will be a bit of lag for at least a couple of minutes but after that you shouldn’t notice any stutters or crashes. By default, the app opening and closing animations are bumped up to make the overall experience feel very snappy.

Specifications

Display5.2-inch 1080p display
ProcessorQualcomm Snapdragon 810
RAM3 GB
Storage32GB with microSD
WaterproofingIP65 / IP68, capless USB
NetworkLTE (4G), LTE Cat6, UMTS HSPA+ (3G), GSM GPRS/EDGE,
ConnectivityWi-Fi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac, Bluetooth 4.1, NFC, A-GPS / Glonass, USB 2.0
CameraMain cam: 23MP cam with Exmor RS sensor, fast autofocus, 4K video capture and output, 23mm wide-angle G Lens, 5x clear image, HDR, ISO 12800 photo / 4000 vide, Steadyshot tech

Front: 5MP
SoftwareAndroid 5.1 Lollipop with Sony UI
Battery2900 mAh
Dimensions146mm x 72mm x 7.3mm, 154 grams

Gallery

Pricing and final thoughts

As is typical with Sony’s flagships, North American launch details are still pretty scarce, though you can get the phone throughout much of Europe and Asia right now. For those in the US, it’s also possible to easily find international versions of the phone through retailers like Amazon for around the $650 mark.

So, is the Sony Xperia Z5 worth picking up over it’s predecessor, the Z3+? Well, there’s really not much new here. There is a fingerprint scanner that works very well. There’s a new and bigger camera sensor, but it doesn’t really make much of a difference. The internals are practically identical. Personally, I don’t think it’s worth upgrading if you already own the Z3+.

That said, if you are upgrading from an older Xperia (Z2 or Z3, etc) or are someone who is simply looking for a reliable, elegant looking phone with an enhanced near-stock Android experience, the Sony Xperia Z5 could be a good choice if you can look past a few shortcomings.

So, there you have it for this in-depth look at the Sony Xperia Z5. What do you think of Sony’s latest flagship? Let us know down in the comments below!

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  • Amjath

    Camera – 7.8 and Dxomark rank them as best in the world so far

    • Guest123

      I was invited to their touch and feel event and i didn’t like the low light shots either but i was doing it in auto. Maybe Dxomark used the manual mode. Just like how iPhone low light shot in auto takes better low light than Samsung’s but the Pro mode in the Samsung phone totally gave a different result.

      • Bur

        Yes Dxomark uses the camera like a real photographer would. Manual all the way. They also test compact cameras and DSLR’s and using the auto mode on such capable cameras is a waste.

        • Clarence Alvarado

          Guys, DxOMark uses Superior Auto in 8 MP. If you doubt their test, well kindly read this full detail of their review. http://connect.dpreview.com/post/6254840659/dxomark-mobile-report-sony-xperia-z5

          It’s just Sony cannot please everybody. Everyone has their own freedom to choose the ones they look better in their eyes.

          • MrWalker1000

            DXO tests ALLL their smartphones in auto mode. All tests are done in default settings.

            people just dunno what the fuck they are talking about. Of course I would take DXO opinion because they are professionals who have tested many phones and their scores usually allign with real world usages (stabilization, highest auto focus etc).

            Over someone who doesn’t even know how to review properly and do their job right.

    • FYLegend21

      DxoMark only looks looks at some aspects under a studio setting. Also they tend to give low ratings to Canon cameras and prefer Nikon (many Nikons now use Sony sensors)

    • Shamoy Rahman

      DxOMark has reviewed over 40000 cameras though they tested it all maxed out in manual.

  • Kevin

    I think you need to reiterate the fact that the camera is still better than 95% of the competition. 23MP is not optimized, so you have the freedom of using manual mode. DxOMark called review it and said it was the best camera. I think Josh needs to re-review this phone again including the compact as well.

    • Clarence Alvarado

      Seriously, I missed Josh’s review of an Xperia phone. It was like the reviewer got her first Xperia phone to review and got so bad.

  • Lim Ming Quan

    I only thing I can say about the Z5 (series) is….

    nothing’s gonna change my love for you!

  • Shamoy Rahman

    are you kidding me? It has one of the fastest fingerprint sensors on the market

  • Marty

    Not impressed with the benchmark scores. Glad I haven’t opted to buy any phone with the SD810…any version of it. Those benchmark scores, my Nexus 6 surpasses them with an older SD805.

  • Haziq Hasnol Zam Zam

    7.8 for Camera ?? Oh come on, AA.. Can’t be that bad.. Someone else should have reviewed this device..

    • Jehan Kateli

      Take a look at some sample pictures and videos taken with it. They’re not great at all.

  • TheBecar

    first that joke they dared calling a camera shootout where they intentionally made Sony look bad, now this … No offense to Kristal, but the fact that noone of the more experienced AA staff bothered to review one of the most anticipated phones of the year says a lot. Every Sony review is nitpicking, and putting cons in front of pros.

    • FermentionIt

      Sony expectations are always high, and sadly, most reviewers fail to
      perform photo crop analysis, manual mode analysis or comparison of
      additional built-in camera software capabilities.

      • ack

        Agreed. Here’s a review (in Chinese) of the night modes, for example. How can reviewers claim the Z5 is bad at taking night pics?! I dunno why the English reviews are generally so lacking. Deadline pressure?
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rakFqqyMj20

        • FermentionIt

          Wow, truly shows the camera’s capability for night shots. It just goes to show that you cannot judge a product by one review. While it may require an extra button click or two to release this camera’s full potential, the fact that it has this potential is impressive. It’s easier to understand DxOMark’s score too.

          • ack

            Now I know how G4 owners feel when reviews only try auto mode and don’t bother with the manual settings because “that’s not how a normal user would use it.” It would like a car review saying, “Well, how were we supposed to know it had 4-wheel drive? A normal driver wouldn’t read the manual either!”

          • MrWalker1000

            dxomark tests all their smartphones on superior auto mode though. Sony phones shoudl take great pictures in auto mode in night shooting as well

      • TheBecar

        “Sadly” they don’t forget to mention every little gimmick Samsung and LG introduce in their phones. when you read a Galaxy review it’s as if you have actually used the phone. They go out of their socks just to make it as appealing as possible.
        Quoting Kristal’s opinion on the cam
        ” there are worse cameras ”
        All of the blatancy and undermining of Xperia line on AA is contained in that sentence

        • Kevin

          Her review was very biased. She failed to explain that the camera is still better than 95% of all smartphone.

          • Swapnil Chaudhary

            That’s why its completely ab oy thing….let real tech./smartphone experts give reviews

  • Bryan King

    Same shit as every tech site…. if it does’t have Apple or Samsung on the front, just deduct marks on every category. I really do hope the apple and samsung bubble bursts right in the face if these sites. Give them something to think on. Apple and samsung are bloated bullies of companies and the next product is considered a success before anyone knows what it even is.

    • magnum

      I disagree with you . they can react so quickly like you cannot believe. Samsung will have their 5.1″ 4k flagship ready in 2 and half months , fastest and higher capacity internal memory , excellent camera better then sony in my opinion . their text contrast and accuracy much better than z3, z5. sony as always too little too late. Sorry I cannot hold with sony anymore .

      • Bryan King

        I had no doubt that many people would disagree with me, especially on a tech-site as it is full of die hard brand loyalists.

        • S.Yu

          1.AMOLED is the better deal, and it gains more advantage every generation, read Anandtech’s analysis of the technology if you don’t believe me. IMO 4k is useless since I have no current interest in VR, and even if Samsung goes 4k regardless, it would bring less disadvantages due to AMOLED’s smaller diodes and better efficiency.

          2.Exynos 7420 is better than Snapdragon 810. Faster, more efficient. Everybody knows that. Samsung doesn’t need a next-gen product to “react” to Sony’s catch-up. I own a lot of Sony stuff, but if you believe otherwise, you’ve gotta be a die hard as well as stupid. That said it looks like Samsung is going with Qualcomm again next generation and so in that aspect it won’t be any different from Sony next year.

          3.UFS2.0 is fast. S6’s internal memory isn’t faster than Apple’s new NVMe in the 6s, but they can trade blows. The others are mainly in a position to receive the blows.

          4.Samsung does buy Sony modules, but it could live without Sony modules, as it’s tested and proven that S6s with modules from either of the brands perform almost exactly in the same manner. So Samsung does better optimization, it’s that simple.

          • Bryan King

            Thats really great! Do you wait in lines for the newest phone in the line?

          • S.Yu

            In fact no. I usually wait for street prices to drop a little before buying, but in this case I had to order the color and storage capacity I wanted from Germany, and it wasn’t a good deal but I had no choice.

      • Kagnon

        I’ll never use a Samsung just cause it always have horrible software bugs that always requires a wipe.
        Despite always having a huge battery and state of the art processor, the phone always starts slowing down after a couple of months and weird battery drain problems start occurring.

        • S.Yu

          You know what, I believe my S6E’s gone through that period, but left it behind.

          I got a metal frame that blocks part of the signal making the unit always slightly warmer than room temperature, and of course costs me 1/2 of my signal strength, but there’s no substitute for it so I leave it on.

          The phone gradually got warmer (and I mean when idling) and laggier through the months. But with the most recent two firmware updates, and some improved app optimization function, I finally see my phone cooling to room temperature at times, this hasn’t been possible since I got the metal frame unless I used airplane mode.

          And the RAM management problem’s just about totally fixed. When I got the phone it could hold zero background apps, every app restarted when I switched to another and switched back. It changed about 3 updates in, and the phone could then hold 1 or 2 background apps depending on the RAM usage of each app. By now, about 8 updates in, it could hold around 5 apps and it amazes me that some really RAM intensive 3D games still sometimes manage to be directly loaded without issue even after idling for about an hour in the background, while I was using all sorts of other apps in the foreground. Everything’s better.

      • Svnjay

        Samsung buys their cameras from Sony, haha.

        • nsage

          The fanboys totally hate to hear that

        • S.Yu

          Half, please. The camera module on my S6E, for example is the Samsung variant.

        • The sensors are probably good but most new cams seem a little stagnating with them just giving better front camera mp and slightly bigger rear mp… Need another Nokia pureview phone XD

  • interesting, expensive is not a cons, its typical of Sony smartphone.

  • Wolf0491

    Feel like iI read the line “as the competitors” twenty times. That’s not exactly the best description to explain how something performs. I mean it works but seems like you could have done more.

  • ack

    Krystal, did you use the Night Portrait or Night Scene modes? In normal use, the Z5 will use a higher ISO to prevent motion blurring. This is a common misconception of why the Z5 performs poorly in low light. Also, Intelligent Active mode for HD video is hardware stabilized, using a closed-loop actuator. There are lots of videos on the Internet showing how effective it is (and why the video score is highest on DXOMark). Please at least try the night modes before saying the Z5 is bad at low light.

  • FermentionIt

    Reviews fail to mention full potential of a phone’s features and overall scores are based on a limited number of the phone’s capabilities. There’s never mention of a phone’s differentiation when evaluating overall value. Where’s the Hi-Res audio test vs. competition?
    Where’s the waterproofing test vs. competition?
    Where’s the audio noise cancellation test?
    Where’s the overall memory capacity test?
    Remote play test with PS4 vs competition?
    Photo crop test with 23MP camera vs. competition?
    FM tuner availability with RDS vs. competition?
    Sound recording quality vs. competition?

    Here’s a category score to add to your tests: Overall capability: 9.7

    • Evangelos Aktoudianakis

      I was between this and an S6 – I ended up getting the former. The reason behind it, if anything else, was the price. An S6 trends for 375 on amazon UK now. The Z5 is on 550. Each performs better in different parts, but we can assume for the sake of argument they’re overall equal when it comes to pros and cons comparison. The price for a Z5 is a killer, specifically given how I briefly owned the Z3+ not too long ago, for a similar price. :/

      • Svnjay

        You payed less for an inferior phone :)

        • Evangelos Aktoudianakis

          How is it inferior? :)

          • Svnjay

            Sorry, I was just trolling :P

          • Evangelos Aktoudianakis

            Haha :)

          • David Martrano

            What are you gonna do with 5.1 lollipop a little outdated for 500.00. Where is the update!!!!

          • Evangelos Aktoudianakis

            Mine is on 6 ?

    • Mike Bastable

      Lol……you could say that about any handset really….these specs are not really
      relevant for the mainstream consumer..AA reviews for the mainstream reader.
      These less relevant specs make the phone essential to you. Great. However for most of us giving a Sony handset a 8.6 seems rather generous….

      • Evangelos Aktoudianakis

        I agree. I waited for the z5 before moving away from my m9 to a s6. In my opinion Sony and HTC have the specs but they spend too little time worrying about how tech savy the average consumer is . My mum who also has an s6 now is interested in point and shoot photography. She will not look for the right setting under tons of settings nor will she be using her phone in the shower. The specs are there and z5 is a thing of beauty but I do disagree with the software choices on both that phone and the m9.

        • Mike Bastable

          agree 100%

      • Svnjay

        Generous? More like an understatement.

        • Mike Bastable

          Do you own it?
          If it i really worth more let us know why!

      • FermentionIt

        I’m not against the score, 8.6 is still a good score. I agree, Sony lacks features found on other handsets. AMOLED, Chi charging, USB-C, DACs, and OIS are cool. It’s the sum of all parts, but if you factor in stereo speakers and battery capacity, my mainstream cash still sees this as a pretty good swiss army knife.

        Interestingly, what is tested and reported on: minimal performance gaps in screen quality, camera quality, and speed, are not going to be detected easily by the mainstream user? Am I wrong? I’m coming from an iPhone 4, so…

        Minus those damn sharp corners, I’m still leaning Sony’s way.

        • Mike Bastable

          points well made

          • you are dumb , you use apple products , you actually arguing that apple is better than sony …. you shouldn’t talk about technology

          • Mike Bastable

            Wow two insulting replies…quiet night in dude?
            I suppose actual sales (instead of mildly insane rants) support me.
            Apple is profitable and very suc6ful. Sony less so…
            I use a iMAc and Android handsets (mainly LG, own an Xperia Z series and use a Huawei for work).
            Now i would be interested in your owned tech? I have often posted here than Sony cam modules ARE awesome just a shame about the handsets. Tell me what do you use? Why is Sony awesome?

      • nsage

        Giving a “Sony” handset 8.6 is generous, clearly you dont know much about Sony.

        • Mike Bastable

          I actually owned various Xperias and a lot of other Sony hardware. The Xperias were always frustrating to use. The negatives always out weighing the positives. Their products just do not gel together the way Apple and LG products do. THEY have improved a great deal but the 8.6 was rather kind. The day they make a great handset again I WILL buy it but they remain a long way off. Service and support is pretty awful in Holland.
          I get that Sony fans are loyal i just wish that Sony would show more ambition, get a new design and start kicking ass again.

          • Steve Jobs

            Service and support depends on the country. Blame your country not the company. Get a new a design? What’s wrong with their design? They are not inconsistent like Samsung that changes design every year because of the major flaws and issues of the hardware.

          • Patrikvk

            Well I’m glad you think Samsung change design every year, because majority of people think they never changed the design.. until, what was it, the S6? But then people got upset because they finally changed the design, haha.

    • Kody

      Some of the feature are very niche like remote play with PS4. If that was something that matter to you then you’d buy this regardless of what AA says.

    • john

      Sony phones are now available for a discounted price only at AndroidSmartphoneDeals;com

  • el_sur

    How can you not talk about the world-record autofocus capabilities of the phone, which is a major selling point? Did you even look at this?

    To say that the front facing camera takes better low light shots than the rear is rather surprising. I’m starting to think the reviewer didn’t really explore the modes for low-light photography on the phone.

    In general, most review sites are handing these phones to people who don’t really seem to know much about photography, which is a shame.

    Terrible review.

    • magnum

      I agree with your camera point 100% . but what about that sh… ancient display , they could be world first with 4k on the 5.2 ” . text reading is horrible very weak contrast need glasses to read . I was a believer in sony.

      • I have a z1c and see no reason to upgrade to any other z at this stage. They really haven’t done enough imo. Coming from a Nokia 808 the z camera isn’t too great, and still has the annoying blue tinge/light bleed etc. Android/apps etc run great and battery life is excellent but the next phone I get needs a bit better in the audio/visual capability as well.

    • deekbee

      Fast autofocus on these isn’t reliable, and when that fast autofocus results in mixed results due to the fairly lousy Sony image processing ….

      And the night modes aren’t really that great, at least not from the couple of times I’ve tried my Z5C so far – really, really far behind my old L1020.

  • Vinny Conforto

    I got the Z5 Compact and love it

  • Those geekbench scores are way too low, that’s less than the Snapdragon 800 gets… Make sure to turn off power saving and stuff, that’s probably why they are so low.

  • Muzamil Adeeb

    Android Authority reviews should be called as “Anti-Sony” review…… I watched many Sony Xperia Z5 reviews on YouTube like gsmarena.com, recombu, etc. and they all appreciated Z5 for its outstanding camera and performance…. But I don’t know what’s wrong with Android Authority and her member Lora who didn’t know how to review a phone but only appreciates shitty galaxy note 5 and lg g4….In the previous review of Z5 compact your team member was also trying to downgrade it……Don’t mind it, but I think that your team members who reviews the smartphones are getting bribe from Samsung, Apply and IPhone to do this…..Z5 is the best phone up to date… Fingerprint, battery, performance, camera etc…….everything is perfect….I think this review has to be done by Jhosh himself…… Thanks!

    • magnum

      Pros side to the above are true . Cons side regarding display are also true, reading text contrast and accuracy is bad compare to Samsung . maybe is about time sony switch to the oled/amoled power efficiency screen displays . my wish is sony will come with newer flagship 5.2″ 4k display in January as Samsung going to do , they can as did with z3+ z5 and z5+ .

    • deekbee

      Er … the Z5 doesn’t have an outstanding camera. it has an outstanding *sensor* and *lens*, but the Sony image processing is garbage – they optimise the image for viewing on the screen, as soon as you try to zoom in on the image you’re viewing something that looks pretty terrible.

  • F. S.

    The question of the camera: probably is exactly the opposite of a lack of optimization. It may have oversampling, since 23 MP pictures on smartphone are rarely needed, it can use the high resolution sensor to create a richer lower resolution picture, like on Lumia 1020 with 41 MP sensor.

    • wabbies

      It does oversample in automode!

  • Daggett Beaver

    Look at where they put the rear camera. Shameless copy of the iPhone!!!!

    (Sorry, I just had to make sure the obligatory “iPhone copy” claim made it into the comments.)

  • wumps13

    Was going to buy this device but 700 euros I give up unfortunately and I was not ready to wait 3 months..

  • xoj_21

    that purple haze low light its no no, my note 4 takes better pictures

  • Janatan

    she gotta learn to take some pictures, here is a blind camera test done on gsmarena.com. Which phone hides behind which letter http://www.gsmarena.com/iphone_6s_galaxy_s6_xperia_z5-review-1329.php

    • S.Yu

      Weak. Everybody with basic knowledge knows that the Sony is the widest, so it’s not blind at all.

  • Andrew White

    Definitely a lot to like about this device.
    Much of my entertainment hardware around the home is Sony, but I have yet to purchase
    any smartphone released to date.
    Why? The reason may sound trivial to some but
    those bezels top and bottom have never changed size over the original Z1.
    3GB of RAM the other.
    Sony’s camera tech is widely used by other manufacturers and yet there is no mention of
    manual control of video settings hmmm.

  • Aadil

    Nice review, but…

    Firstly, “but in the other areas, it falls a bit behind.” is what you said for the display but you never mentioned these areas except for the “haze”. I don’t know what you mean by ghosting but Sony phones have faster animations by default.

    Secondly, the camera uses photo binning, it’s not plain 8mp.
    Thirdly, it has hardware actuator for video stabilisation and it’s not the same software stabilisation.
    Fourthly, You missed plenty of features possibly because you never used Sony phones before.
    Fifth, it has the fastest auto focus amongst all phones but there’s no mention of it.
    Sixth, it has FHD screen and not HD.
    Finally, it’s fingerprint scanner was applauded by AA as faster than most and YouTube videos prove that it’s indeed as fast as iPhone. You need to recheck that.

  • kin p

    This is why Sony mobile is failing, it fails to fanboy/girl journalists or paid rival journalists. SONY has the most advanced stabilization system, it has hardware actuator for video stabilisation which is miles ahead of the competitors. This review just killed a mobile company!

    • ack

      I wouldn’t blame this review. Practically all the other Z5 reviews are not aware of the hardware stabilization either (or the super sampling or the night modes, etc.). It’s a shame that reviewers don’t actually read up on the product before doing the review.

    • Swapnil Chaudhary

      Only sony owners know that!!!!that’s biggest problem ?

  • magnum

    Not better said than android authority , cons side. display get the lowest mark , I am very disappointed with a non 4k display at that 5.2 ” display . Samsung are the lions and they are going to maul sony badely in January with the s7 4K DISPLAY 5.1″ . sony lost again and again . their next 5.2″ 4k flagship will appear only in june to September 2016 . ( why your compact is a total fail with still 720p ) , after two years and seven sony devices z3’s ,compacts , one ultra me and family giving up . I canot wait again for one year LATER . I will jump to the Samsung sheep wagon .

    • MackinsVII

      Wow. You are being a sheep. The pixels at 1080 are indistinguishable to the naked eye now, there is absolutely no point in 4K in a phone. It’s just throwing out bigger numbers, for bigger numbers sake.
      Ps. Samsung are ugly devices.

  • Marc Perrusquia

    This reviewer is just awful.

  • laicibai

    Noob camera review. Failed to take advantages of all the manual setting available. If we need a noob camera review, what is the point for manufacturer to introduce more advance & manual control to their camera???? Your way of ignoring all these in your noob camera review are just shallow & for idiot. Your reader are smarter and more tech savvy.

  • laicibai

    The time has come when the phone features are smarter than the reviewer…. 3/10 for this review

  • Rochak S.

    does DXOmark knows its stuff of testing cameras
    simply on the basis of which photos look better

  • jason bourne

    7.3 for the display should be enough reason to dismiss this phone outright. We look at the display 90 percent of the time we use a smartphone.

    • MrWalker1000

      this reviewer has already been proven unreliable. Why would anyone care about what she thinks of the display.

  • Mateusz Wojtkiewicz

    I can understand lower score for the camera, but 7.3 fo the display? Are you serious? It’s absolutely gorgeous. Just because it’s not an amoled or it’s not a 1440p panel doesn’t mean it sucks?!

    • charlie Jason

      I admittedly have never had a hands on with the Z5, but I do know that Sony is quite good at making displays. I don’t know why they give it such a low score, but they must have some reason.
      Or maybe it’s just a faulty unit. You should check it out yourself at a store to be certain.

      • Mateusz Wojtkiewicz

        I did – it’s great. Not as good as the SGS6 display – but nothing is.

      • MrWalker1000

        sony supplies apple with their displays. It’s funny how many people don’t know anything. Also, sony has a more accurate display than samsung and apple. Resolution is not everything. It’s a great display.

  • Peter

    So basically you ‘reviewed’ a phone whose main features are:

    – ultrafast hybrid autofocus
    – hi res audio
    – upscaling of audio to hi res
    – noise cancellation
    – ps4 remote play

    And basically you didn’t even mention any of them, Instead focusing on generic crap? Sorry but that’s how reviewing an iPhone 6s and forgetting to even mention 3D touch.

    Very poor review. 2/10

    • S.Yu

      I think hi res on such a smartphone is a total gimmick. They didn’t even integrate s-master. For clean audio you need dedicated circuitry. I wouldn’t attempt 24/96 files on anything less than a ZX100.
      Upscaling is more of a gimmick. Think of it as JPG sharpening. No more need be said.

      • MrWalker1000

        sony still has great audio suppport though. Headphones sound nice and the hi res audio/noise cancellation will work nice with the right pair of headphones.

        front facing speakers that are waterproof is also a high rarity these days.

  • Andy

    Why are the benchmark scores so low? Every other review I saw showed almost twice the score ? Care to explain and fix that?

  • kin p

    Incremental updates? if it was Apple, it would had been revolutionary.

  • robert fish

    Sony why do this to us.If your charging a premium device then give us premium specs.The only reason a lower res screen is good for is battery and even then thats not a good excuse

  • Kagnon

    1. How is the SD card harder to remove than most phones where you have to open the back cover and most of the time remove the battery then the card definitely a plus for SIM when most phones need that annoying pin which will scratch the phone eventually,
    2. Lanyard hole is not for keychains
    3. The camera isn’t as bad as you make it, but it does have the issue of using the right settings sometimes.

  • Seth Albee

    The NFC logo is most likely on the phone because Sony was heavily involved with the creation of the current NFC technology used today, they are showing it off I guess.

  • Kevin

    I hope AA listens to all of these comments, and decides to re- review the device. I think Crystal spent more time editing her video then researching the phone because it was very bad. Major selling points were not even mentioned. What made me decide AA over phone arena for my source of technology was how unbiased the reviews were. Josh was clear to point out faults in flagships and praise features on phones that I had never heard of. Do you guys remember his famous line, “if you keep it simple you keep it fast”. Now, however, we have reviewers who criticize phones for not being mainstream like Samsung or LG. I am very disappointed.

  • Kevin

    This review is very biased. It seems as if Krystal is purposely trying to make the phone look bad. She criticizes the phone for not having certain features as opposed to other flagships like OIS(even though it uses a hybrid form of stabilization), QHD display(even though FHD is perfectly fine). She even go’s as far as criticizing the NFC Logo( which is super important. If you dont know where the NFC is then it is a pain trying to connect two devices). However, she failed to mention the insanely fast autofocus(something that was praised on the LG G3), manual mode on the camera(something that is praised on the LG G4), and the storage expandability via micro SD card( something most flagships dont offer anymore). Why didnt she praise it for the unbloated UI. Whatever happened to, “If you keep it simple, you keep it fast.”. All in all, she compared it other flagships when it was something negative, but failed to do so when it was advantageous. We need a re-review by Joshua Vergara

    • ack

      I think it’s more a perception problem than anything. Like when phablets first came out and everyone said “they’re too big!” Sony made some decisions outside the norm, such as increasing ISO for low light rather than increasing exposure time (i.e. motion blur vs. level of detail), and having night modes instead. For reviewers, who always test against night time scenery, the default doesn’t make sense.

      The 8 MP super-sampling is another thing that totally confounded reviewers. I think Sony should have left the raw 23/20 MP modes in manual, to avoid confusion. Even the 24mm lens caused confusion. Reviewers took comparison pics from the same spot without realizing that the Z5 would have a much larger FOV. How do you compare pics when they don’t even look alike? LOL! Oh well, until reviewers better understand how the Z5 works, it’ll be rated poorly.

  • Hussein Abdullah

    the Benchmark in antutu is lower than my Nexus 6 and the Geekbench is even lower than my old N5 with SD800…the Antutu could be legit when that Phone had some gaming and Videos to take but no fucking way it’s lower than the 800 that cant be right

  • EQ

    I thought it said “review” in the headlines. Where is the review?

  • Samuel Ezra

    I really disappointed to this review. Because it’s just an average review. You missed so many parts like you didn’t show how good it is while doing multitasking, how good the control of the manual camera etc. I prefer Josh to do the review actually. And the last one, actually you can take a great picture with it if you know how to use the manual mode. That’s why Sony gives a tutorial for smartphone photography.

  • Craigus

    The NFC logo is discretely placed their to show you where the sensor is – not to be weird or to advertise it.

  • Next time upload camera photos samples in full size and quality, please..

  • Prince Mensah

    Wow!! So the nexus 6P is better than the Z5 according to AA? Wow!! I Think Josh should re-review this device

  • Chauntella Stephanie Brown

    For the ones criticising every damn thing Crystal had to say why the hell then didn’t yall just review the phone yourselves???
    Smh, good job Crystal! Love your reviews ?

  • nsage

    Krystal Loba you really screwed this review up.

  • G1andonly

    Bravo, bravo. What a fantastic job you have done dear. That was the best phone review I’ve ever been though. You detailed ever aspect of the phone and your delivery was superb. Congratulations on doing such a great job as i look forward to more reviews by you. You have the perfect voice for this position, thank you.
    (I accidentally posted this comment to another thead about the camera of the sony Z5, dont know how but it was for this review). Dont listen to the bad comments, they are just upset that the phone didn’t live up to the hype, not your fault you were just doing your job.

  • i understand that you are a girl and you use apple products , having said that , what the hell do you know about technology , sony have the best camera software and hardware ever , it’s just that you are a stupid american who buy apple products becuase you don’t know what is technology , i bet you didn’t even change the scene options in the camera , or the sizing option on the front camera , Sony 23 megapixel camera in day light shooting shouldn’t be compared to any other smartphone camera out there , even the s6 edge+ camera , clearly the iphone is not in the comparison level in the first place , i get a great picture of an object 1.5 km away from me , when i used my cousin iphone for the same picture , after zooming for 1 millimeter , you could see the pixel floating in the screen , and you gave Sony camera 7.8 rating and the iphone camera 8.5 ….. WOW , you are the dummest reviewer in the world …. moreover the review didn’t speak about the audio , waterproof , gaming , display technology , i bet you don’t know what the hell is the triluminous display technology … i really don’t know who the hell do you think or account for something ?!! oh right , you use apple products .

    • Mike Bastable

      So!
      Sexist insult in first line….Girls do know about Tech. This is 2015.
      Now we all know you probably use Sony, haha, Krystal writes for AA so suppose she might be an Android user, and her other pieces are all rather good.
      If we take away all the insults you basically list the specs and about your usage of the Sony cam. We all know that the Sony cam units are great!.
      But i suppose the review dealt with the whole user experience. People DO seem to prefer iPhone fotos to other handsets (something iPhone users often talk about). If you have an awesome camera but itis hard to use you might as well have a crap camera really.
      All of what you said, if said rationally without the pointless Apple hate, is correct. However the ease of use of the Apple software seems to be very liked by users. LG has recently been making great handsets with excellent cam software…Sony could try making the handsets more user friendly, refreshing the design and actually selling handsets again in big quantities.
      The other argument, of course, is that Sony has given up on mass market sales and is appealing more to niche users (like yourself), who are tech savy and know how to set up the product to acheive optimum results. Which might be the smart thing to do.
      Apple users love their handsets and are very loyal, Good luck to them. I like the flexibility of Android myself. But even i recognise that the iPhone is awesome.
      Hardly any iPhone users read AA so by just flaming everyone who does not share your opinion as an “apple using idiot” is basically you “Howling at the wind”.
      Less sexism, more tollerance…good advice for anyone living in the middle east…..

      • Suzieq24

        i wondered if anyone would mention the strong dislike of women that lept out from the last comment. Thank you for defending us most honorable gentleman

  • Arch Angelos

    The same person who reviewed the Z5 compact should have also reviewed the Z5 just to keep scores consistent cause technically they should have the same score for design,performance(Actually The Z5C Might Be Better Cause Of Its Lower Res Screen But Still),software and camera. Other wise pretty good review if the screen is fucked up then its fucked up lol they should fix that. maybe think about updating the review when the phone updates to A6.0

  • robert

    when you expect to have Z5 Premium on review?

  • pcs

    Really?? Is it that worth enough to upgrade?, it tons of new features!! also extra sd card storage better camera fingerprints. Why iPhone or sumsung nothing much changed you don’t say that too.

    Expensive prices, is it cons?? I think price same as many flagship in market, bias of you

  • Andrew Lim

    How is it that the camera performance is getting 7.8 vs 8.5 in the Z5 Premium’s review? Such a disparity since it is technically an identical camera. And speaking about that, you have rated the software at 9.5 while the Premium at 8.0 which is also the same right ?

  • arshad

    Can any one suggest that should i buy Huawei p9 or xperia z5 ? And why?